By Gabriel TanFollow @@gabetan13
Reporting from the Jalan Besar Stadium
Despite being the more dangerous of the two teams, the Rams were unable to find the back of the net as both Taufiq Rahmat and Chang Jo-yoon missed gilt-edged chances to net a winner.
Ultimately, both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils although it's likely Cheetahs boss Alex Weaver would be the happier of the two coaches, given his goalkeeper Fadhil Salim had to make a number of good saves to keep his team in the game.
Heading into Friday's clash at the Jalan Besar Stadium on the back of last week's 2-0 win over Home United, Woodlands started the game brimming with confidence despite having to do without star striker Moon Soon-ho, who missed through suspension after picking up a straight red against the Protectors.
Nonetheless, it was Hougang who created the first real chance in the 15th minute when Syaqir Sulaiman played a searching pass to Mamadou Diallo, who turned on the edge of the box before unleashing an effort that had plenty of power but sailed wide.
A minute later, it was Woodlands' turn to try their from distance when Taufiq was left in acres of space 25 yards out, and fired in a rasping drive that Fadhil had to push away at full stretch.
Taufiq then almost turned provider three minutes before the half-hour mark when his lovely lofted ball sent Goh Swee Swee racing through, but just as the stand-in skipper looked set to test the opposition goalkeeper, his progress was halted by the linesman's flag.
Chang then missed the first of two excellent chances for the designated hosts in the 36th minute when Ang Zhiwei found space down the right and floated a lovely ball straight at his feet, but from eight yards out, the South Korean could only blast his shot wide of the near post.
Three minutes later, the Cheetahs did have the ball in the back of the net when a lovely left-wing cross by Azhar Sairudin was headed home by Liam Shotton, only for the strike to be chalked off for offside.
Four minutes after the break, the Hougang defence was again carved apart by a brilliantly-worked set-piece routine that involved a series of one-touch passes from Goh, Khalid Hamdaoui and Chang. The ball fell invitingly into Taufiq's path but somehow, with the entire goal to aim for, he could only slice his shot high and wide.
By now, the Rams were beginning to look increasingly likely to break the deadlock and a minute later, Fadhil produced a fine save to deny Goh, tipping his left-footed curling effort over just as it looked set to creep beneath the bar and into the back of the net.
Goh, who was starting to pose the opposition defence all sorts of problems in the attacking third, came close once more when he sent the ball excruciatingly wide of the bottom corner with a glancing header at the near post, after the lively Taufiq had curled a corner straight to him.
With their opponents firmly in the ascendancy, Hougang began to adopt a more-conservative approach as the game wore on, and it certainly worked as the chances dried up for the Rams.
However, they managed to create two more chances in the final ten minutes in a last-ditch attempt to grab all three points.
First, substitute Armanziam Dolah forced Fadhil into another fine save in the 85th minute when he trapped the ball 35 yards out from goal and unleashed a volley that the goalkeeper did well to tip over, before Chang, deep into injury time, had a clear sight of goal after Goh floated a pass onto his chest.
But having down well to bring the ball under control and turn his opponent, the ex-Balestier Khalsa man could only send his volley wide, leaving Woodlands to lament what might have been if only they had been able to find the finishing touch in front of goal.
Woodlands Wellington: Ahmadulhaq Che Omar, Ang Zhiwei, Cho Sung-hwan, Shariff Samat (Shahril Alias 44'), Rosman Sulaiman (Fadhil Noh 82'), Ridhwan Osman (Armanizam Dolah 71'), Atsushi Shimono, Goh Swee Swee, Khalid Hamdaoui, Taufiq Rahmat, Chang Jo-yoon.
Hougang United: Fadhil Salim, Faizal Amir, Hasree Zais, Syaqir Sulaiman, Fazly Hasan, Robert Eziakor, Thomas Beattie, Azhar Sairudin (Sobrie Mazelan 57'), Fazli Jaffar (Basit Hamid 71'), Mamadou Diallo, Liam Shotton (Fairoz Hasan 61').
Image courtesy of Daniel Goh